Browns face QB question
BEREA — Hue Jackson made a drastic decision on Sunday with DeShone Kizer.
Now he’s got a bigger one: keep the rookie quarterback on the bench or play Kevin Hogan.
And as Jackson weighs the pros and cons on how to best handle Cleveland’s latest quarterbacking conundrum, he again said the losing is taking its toll.
The coach and the Browns are reeling in sync.
“Hell, my confidence is shaken,” Jackson said when asked if Kizer could be rattled by being pulled Sunday for Hogan. “We haven’t won a game. I am, what, 1-30? I don’t know what it is. My confidence is shaken, too, but I am going to walk in here every day and in this building every day with the mindset to get better and to get this organization and this football team to winning.
“DeShone has to do the same thing.”
Jackson, winless through five games this season and 1-20 in his two years with Cleveland, pulled an ineffective Kizer at halftime Sunday in favor of Hogan, who moved the Browns’ offense and threw two touchdown passes in a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets.
Hogan’s strong performance — he went 16 of 19 for 194 yards in one half — and Kizer’s issues, especially with turnovers in the red zone, would seem to point toward another change at quarterback.
However, Jackson said he wants to watch more tape and take everything into account before choosing a starter for this week’s game at Houston.
Jackson insists he still believes the 21-year-old Kizer can develop into a capable starter. Nine interceptions haven’t changed the coach’s mind on that.
However, Kizer’s four picks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line have hurt the Browns’ chances to win and Jackson has to weigh whether to put the young QB’s development ahead of wins.
This is going to take some time.
“I need to get alone to myself after watching the tape again and really think back through it all,” said Jackson, who will announce his plans Wednesday. “My decision is what is best for the team. What is best for our team to put us in position to win? Also, what is best for DeShone? It’s not just for the team, but what is best for him just so that he can feel like, ‘OK, I am moving further along in this process and I’m understanding what I need to do to be better.’ All of that will go into my decision making.”
Jackson noted Kizer has improved at getting rid of the ball more quickly. Earlier this season, his indecisiveness resulted in sacks. He’s also shown better command of the offense, isn’t taking as many big hits, and doesn’t appear rattled.
The turnovers, though, are hurting.
During the first half Sunday, Kizer locked in on tight end Seth DeValve near the goal line and didn’t see Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye, who picked him off at the 2.
Jackson was asked if Kizer isn’t seeing the field well enough.
“When you get in the scoring zone, things get compacted a little bit, so maybe we are not seeing some things we need to see down there as clearly as we need to,” he said. “There are some other throws that he made that were outstanding in certain situations, but down there, let’s just be honest, that is where these things have reared their ugly head. It has been for several games, so obviously we are not seeing it as well as we need to.”
Hogan, on the other hand, has been effective whenever he’s been called upon.
Although he was viewed as an outsider during Cleveland’s quarterback competition in training camp, Hogan, in his second season out of Stanford, has emerged as perhaps the team’s best option to win this season.
He may not be the long-term answer, but Hogan could be the short-term solution. And if he starts Sunday, Hogan will be the 28th starting quarterback for the Browns since 1999.
Star tackle Joe Thomas wouldn’t say which quarterback he’d prefer, but he believes Kizer can shake off Sunday’s outing.
“He is a guy that can bounce back quickly, and I would expect him to be able to bounce back by tomorrow,” Thomas said. “Usually, you feel crappy on Monday and you are able to watch the game and make the corrections, and by the time Tuesday comes around, you are focused on the next opponent. He has the type of demeanor and personality.”
NOTES: LB Jamie Collins has finally cleared concussion protocol after missing three games. … Jackson said top pick Myles Garrett will play more this week after getting two sacks in just 18 snaps on Sunday. Garrett missed Cleveland’s first four games with a sprained ankle. “He gave us some juice and gave us a lift,” Jackson said.